So Who Plays Third or First for the Brewers?
Bodies at 3rd and 1st
- So who plays third base? Hernan Perez was sent to AAA on November 6th after spending much of 2015 with the major league crew, but he refused his assignment and became a free agent. Of course earlier in 2015, Aramis Ramirez had been traded to the Pirates and since has announced his retirement. One name being mentioned as a potential third baseman is Yadiel Rivera who has been playing the hot corner in the Arizona Fall League. He has looked good, batting .327 with a homer and 10 RBI along with 5 steals as of November 9th. The league wraps up on the 21st of this month. Can Yadiel bring some offense to the bigs? Only time will tell. Elian Herrera is still in the organization, and so is Luis Sardinas. To me, the fact that Elian Herrera is even MENTIONED as an option at third for next season by various sportswriters makes me feel a bit ill. At his age (30) and because of his relative inability to generate good offense (.253 Career Major League Average along with a .306 majors OBP in 586 total at bats) I feel like he probably shouldn’t be on the 25 man roster at this point. Enough of Elian! Luis Sardinas is still a possibility at third as he is a part of the Brewers 25 man roster. I really liked Sardinas from what I saw when he was in the bigs this year, but just like Yadiel Rivera, Sardinas actually is a shortstop originally, and I am not sure what kind of power and RBI numbers Sardinas could generate over the long term of a major league season, but I do know some people are clamoring for Bill Hall, Luis Cruz or Cody Ransom to play some third, all of which are former Brewers who are available and STARVING for major league time! On a serious note, one guy who I did like was Hector Gomez. I would have liked it if he stayed a Brewer and got some looks at third base, but he is of course long gone along with Luis Jimenez.
One guy who can hit is Jason Rogers. He has drawn praise from writers and broadcasters alike. There is no question about his approach at the plate and he has had quality at bats. The problem is, he is not very good defensively at third. If only Jason Rogers’ pop could be combined with the defense of Sardinas or Rivera! The fact that Sardinas and Herrera are switch hitters will surely get them a few more at bats next season provided they are still Brewers all year. Other people who can play Third Base include Garrett Cooper and Brandon Macias, both of whom are on the AA Biloxi roster and very unlikely to see big league time.
2. Adam Lind had his Brewer option for 2016 picked up at First Base, but that truly does not mean anything. You cannot trade a free agent. If the Brewers did not pick up Lind’s option, they would not have the rights to him for possible trade bait, so to me it still seems possible that he could be shopped. Truthfully, I liked how Lind played more games than I expected at first base in 2015. He came into the season with some back issues, and he played in more games than I think even the Brewers had forecasted for him! When you look at any type of first base production the Brewers have had since Prince Fielder left via free agency after the 2011 post season it is plain to see that Lind put up some pretty decent numbers compared to some of the absolute monstrosities that have been tried at first base since Prince left. If Lind gets dealt, my hope is that the new “prospect of our future” actually pans out and stays with the crew for a while unlike Third Round Draft Pick Kevin Barker who had fallen out of favor so much that he was dealt for minor league catcher Dusty Wathan in 2002. Dusty was released two months later! Anyway, enough about the very dismal 2002 season! My point is, if Lind is dealt they need to get it right! 2012 was the first major league season for the Brewers without Prince. During the course of that year, the following guys appeared at first in the majors for the crew at one time or another: Mat Gamel, Corey Hart, Travis Ishikawa, Taylor Green, Brooks Conrad, Cesar Izturis, Martin Maldonado, George Kottaras and Cody Ransom! So who was at Nashville “waiting in the wings” to play first that year? Erick Almonte, Sean Halton and Jordan Brown all played first at Nash, but weren’t even good enough to get called up to the crew’s carousel that season! While that analysis of the revolving door of first base from 2012 may make you turn purple, it truthfully didn’t really improve at the major league level in either 2013 or 2014. The next two seasons for first base at the major league level featured people like Juan Francisco, Lyle Overbay, Jonathan Lucroy and Mark Reynolds to name a few.With Matt Clark outrighted to AAA on 11-2-15 who really would play first for the majority of the major league games if Lind goes? I certainly hope it is not Lucroy! Currently there are no first baseman listed at AAA and at Double A the only first baseman listed is Nick Ramirez. Ramirez is a former 4th round pick who has never tasted a lick of action at AAA though, and he owns a career minors average of .248, so if anything bringing him up to the majors at this point to play first would be a mistake, but hey when has that stopped the crew? One can only hope that waiver claims or trades this offseason bring a bonafide first baseman to the crew, but that is only necessary if Lind is traded. If Lind is not traded before the 2016 season starts, I expect him to have a pretty decent year with some nice numbers in 2016. Truthfully though, if he still has a Brewer uniform on at the 2016 trade deadline, I would be shocked because of his age and also because the Brewers are rebuilding. In addition to all that, he would be a free agent going into 2017, so a 2016 deadline trade makes a bit of sense. Once again, my only hope is the Brewers GET IT RIGHT when selecting their new guy at first! Ryan Braun has been mentioned a few times, and only time will tell how that turns out. Obviously his offensive production is very favorable, but how would Braun be at first defensively? Is it worth the risk? Is Braun even going to live out his contract with the crew? Only time will tell….